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The Red Thread by Stephanie Parent

My Ariadne can see the future.

(My Ariadne. This is my version of the story.)

She spins her red thread, and it twists into shapes before her eyes, hearts and nooses. It tells her that Theseus turns out to be an asshole.

Seven young men and seven maidens arrive on the island, and Theseus outshines them all. His eyes are the sky blue of someone who believes he cannot fail, who believes he has no darkness within him. Those eyes make Ariadne dream of flight.

Theseus wonders how such a creature as the minotaur, half-beast, half-man, could be allowed to exist. Ariadne doesn’t tell him the last of the halves: the monster is her half-brother. In the evening she dreams of blue eyes, but her hands twist and turn the red thread. At midnight she dreams of mazes like arteries and veins, running red and blue.

Ariadne gives Theseus a coiled ball of thread the size of a heart. She tells him the thread will guide him out of the labyrinth.

Continue reading “The Red Thread by Stephanie Parent”

Phobos Lab by Edwin Evans-Thirlwell

E1M1

Orbit if you follow, if you quit
the rail of Cassiopeia.

Point the toe if you flow
backward from the altar.

Be appointed dirt to an Easter scene,
breathe as low
as an overbearing ceiling.

E1M2

The ankles for the trees,
the kestrel square and trim,
as a kestrel is begotten
and bent inward from the rim.

E1M3

A microscope slide of masonry
plied with ocular fluid, Continue reading “Phobos Lab by Edwin Evans-Thirlwell”

3 Poems by Kylie Ayn Yockey

HELL IS REAL

warns the interstate billboard
between pastures and pig slaughters

this landscape of disturbance
smells like home to my soul

the sun’s pollen heats
a body of cows
invisible behind dirt devils
mooing in another language

hell is a gas station
between nothing-towns
of glaring bony-leered eyes

the giant sky turns to me
with cornflower irises
through titanic turbine lashes
across unblinking horizon Continue reading “3 Poems by Kylie Ayn Yockey”

Strategies by Lisa Fazio

1. Calculate

I plan ahead
Preparing for the best outcome
and defense
I stay alert for the minotaurs
that live in my maze
Each day I puzzle and calculate
But in the woods
I wonder
Why do my decisions come so easily?
Trusting
I step off the trail
feeling my way around
Prickers
Thorn trees
Barbed wire fences
Picking up deer trails
I follow them without knowing where they’ll take me Continue reading “Strategies by Lisa Fazio”

Big Moves/Changes/ Feelings by Lauren Weik

When I first decided to move from Austin, TX to Los Angeles, I was leaving behind my friends, family, two jobs, and cat all in Texas to go finish school in a big, new city. I was freshly single after a relationship of two years, and I felt isolated, alone, but empowered to say the least.

The week before I moved from Austin, I said several goodbyes. To the job I worked for 3 years, to my students who I worked with in an after-school program. I moved everything out of my apartment and picked myself up after long sad nights.

During this transition period, talking about all the swift changes and new rules of the adult world proved difficult. I was only beginning to learn how to navigate my own mental health, and I went through my days carrying the weight of the breakup pain plus the grief of moving while others appeared to function and lead happy, perfect lives. I watched my 4 year old cousin turn 5, and we painted his hair pink. I went to Chicago by myself to visit an old friend. I packed up my belongings and dealt with the process of moving like a grown woman. Continue reading “Big Moves/Changes/ Feelings by Lauren Weik”

The Believer by Kristin Garth

She sleepwalks in your washi house in crin-
oline, emaciated mouse weeks you
forget to feed, a nibbler, toenails, skin,
until feet bleed free, soil sheets, bamboo
floor, trafficked hardly anymore except
somnabulistic scarlet toes who
map labyrinths, shake off bedclothes, accept
razored teeth in pale furrows.  Ankle chewed
until, unconscious, she seeks the ground.  Bandage,
next time you come around — rose macaroons
gunpowder tea — into a paper cage
fantasy, unbolted door, girl you freed,
six months ago, believes enough to bleed.

 

Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Best of the Net & Rhysling nominated sonnet stalker. Her sonnets have stalked journals like Glass, Yes, Five:2:One, Luna Luna, and more. She is the author of fourteen books of poetry including Pink Plastic House (Maverick Duck Press), Candy Cigarette Womanchild Noir (The Hedgehog Poetry Press), the forthcoming Flutter: Southern Gothic Fever Dream (TwistiT Press), The Meadow (APEP Publications) and Shut Your Eyes, Succubi (Maverick Duck). Follow her on Twitter @lolaandjolie and her website kristingarth.com

Covert art credit: Photo by Aimee Vogelsang on Unsplash

Remixes by Shloka Shankar

shloka-swallowed hope - an erasure diptych
swallowed hope: an erasure diptych

For all the good it did

It was me.                                                        Should I go on?
The dark doesn’t affect
your nose.                                                      Never wake up

………………………………………halfway
………………………………………down
………………………………………the
………………………………………stairs.

A fraction of an inch— Continue reading “Remixes by Shloka Shankar”

There Might Have Been Horses by Rebecca Loudon

Oh sad potato wrapped in plastic like Laura Palmer I might have been Caroline Calloway I might have swallowed a yellow sundress a lemon yellow orchid a story to tell by a bonfire at night in a forest in Montana

my tell is a magnetic lie
my tell is a rotting animal
my tell is a broken knuckle
my tell is a tent pitched at Flathead Lake

where I traveled backward into wilderness where fire and blackberries devoured my girl soul where soil and conifers met at the trout mouth edge and blue water and black deep did not restore my sister but we rose her anyway we opened her stone and chanted up her finished flesh and worshiped her little dress her lilac crown her apples her plush rabbit

I played my violin in the forest
I thought music could fix my disease
I thought music could raise the dead

when my face doesn’t unlock my phone I panic I have become Caroline Calloway my life mere electricity I have disappeared into caves among the stalactite’s green glisten the ocean never closer than my memory of Montana there might have been horses there might have been giant hares there might have been my father building a fire raising my sister from the ashes look he said look at her perfection Continue reading “There Might Have Been Horses by Rebecca Loudon”

Review ‘poems to be found in the desert’ by Tony Messenger

“The poem surpasses the other literary arts in every way: in its depth, potency, bitterness, beauty, as well as its ability to unsettle us.” Jón Kalman Stefánsson

Unsettlement is a recurring theme in Tony Messenger’s debut collection ‘poems to be found in the desert’. Colonial unsettlement, traversing an uncomfortable environment,
d i s l o c a t i o n and the blurred lines of imaginary \\\borders///. \\\Boundaries/// & limits that appear, settle and dissolve.

This conflicting duality works to unsettle the reader, forcing them to ???question??? their place in the vast Australian →landscape←, an environment where nothing seems as it appears.

The epigraph for the opening section of poems comes from Ely Williams “I find that out in the desert my words wander too because here thoughts and words are things unleashed.” A warning that the collection is peppered with thoughts and words unleashed, a cryptic murmuring, a maze of ideas that circle, repeat, fade and reform. It is easy to become lost in this text, thinking you’ve already experienced an image, but a refresh and a re-read show slight differences, an erosion, a morphing of concepts.

This is the desert where the obvious is not so obvious.

The collection opens with the poem “longifolius” (the scientific name for the spiky spinifex grass that is abundant in the central deserts). The poem can be viewed as a metaphor for Australia itself. The grass grows in a ◌circular◌ clump, and as it ages its shape becomes nest like, with the centre ►dying◄ off as the grass uses all the available nutrients in the soil, the newer stems sprouting on the outside forming ◌concentric◌ patterns. The inner “►dead zone◄” is a haven for ants, who feed on the ⸙seeds⸙, and reptiles and birds, who feed off the ants. Hence the ◌circular◌ shape of the poem. Something that may appear barren is in fact teeming with life. Look to the centre not as an ⸔inhospitable⸕ place, look for details, enquire with a local pair of eyes.

Continue reading “Review ‘poems to be found in the desert’ by Tony Messenger”

Hir Qing Sorrow by Iain Fraser

stilted words
stillborn
slide out
from torn
slash flesh
blood red
lipstick mouth
spews out
bloodless ugly triplets
‘I / love / you’
I choose ‘I’
not love
not you
not seeing eye to eye
but
fighting tooth for tooth
forebears cry out
they see
everything
from top
of swaying
family tree
daant ke lie daant
don’t lie Continue reading “Hir Qing Sorrow by Iain Fraser”

mother, the objects by Elizabeth Kolenda

Screenshot_20191213-182853__01(1) Continue reading “mother, the objects by Elizabeth Kolenda”

[Again] / [To surge, rise] by Sue Scavo

suescavo[again][tosurgerise]1a

Continue reading “[Again] / [To surge, rise] by Sue Scavo”

3 Poems by Jericho Hockett

If I am made 

in the image of     God no wonder
I have a black hole     head boundaries
blurred my body     unfolding shape
shifting some days     I look in
mirrors thinking     Jesus Christ is
that my face     other days I see through
my lover’s eyes     a shade garden
in my throat     bleeding heart dicentra
collarbones dripping     with corydalis lutea
each blossom     ink I read only birdsong
my chest an aperture     to root to ground Continue reading “3 Poems by Jericho Hockett”

Anger by Amal

[CN: suicidal ideation]

Anger

There is an anger inside of me
that claws its way out of me
One that tears apart the demon asleep on my tongue
My lungs are a raging lava
My blood boils
My self-control is not so loyal.
What if I just unleash the beast
Sometimes, I wanna show them my claws
I wanna show them I can stand up for myself

fight-or-flight
fight-or-flight
no, fight fight fight

I wanna sink my fangs into the throat of their ignorance
Drag their egos through the mud because dirt does not
discriminate against –
it buries.
And all flesh tastes the same to the maggots
sometimes I want to crush their bones
into dust.
They think of themselves gods
but everyone is the same height when
their faces are in the ground

sometimes
sometimes Continue reading “Anger by Amal”

2 Poems by Jeff Pearson

Sing Me the Song

after John Lyon

When the exiled pioneers stared at the Salt Lake Valley, they drank clean air. A sky framed by Nature’s Bulwark presumed their own. They slept in the open next to trees in the crux of the canyon, and night came. An armistice with ground, as each fire began to smell less and less like Buffalo chips. Crowded by the grid system, I search for a street where I am not spied on by a steeple. Imperfect Zion sleeping in Pioneer Park.

Nor the Sound of pollution voice is heard?

I am the visitor, welcome on the back row with handshake full of grease brought again to sacrament meeting. Ceiling fans spin backward the longer I stare. Hymnodic. I remember as a kid, a deacon, I once put Sprite in the cups for sacrament’s water. Nursery tastes like blessings.

But where shall we find this fairy vale
Where the naked are clothed and the hungry fed Continue reading “2 Poems by Jeff Pearson”

Labyrinth Song by Lucy Whitehead

Labyrinth Song

Not everyone enters
their maze on a mission.
Some of us wake one day
curled inside a darkness
that stretches in all directions
for countless miles         caught
in a lacework cage reaching
beyond years.

…………………Ever winding
we wander half blind
through rotting corridors
searching for signs of life
stumbling over pits that beckon
beneath wearied feet
in the yawning velvet dark

wrestling
with dead ends that glint
with knives and chains
slamming shut doors
that open silently
into nothingness

…………………chasing golden
voices not our own over
floors that sharpen suddenly
into spikes         through
mirrored courtyards where
we glimpse our aging faces
catch sad minotaurs
behind our eyes.

We become adept
at surviving         stripped
of all but our existence
at times      weaving
the gleaming edges of pain
into armour and amulets
fortifying our bones Continue reading “Labyrinth Song by Lucy Whitehead”

2 Poems by Kevin R. Farrell, Jr.

Just a Thought

For the warming comfort of snow,
to thaw that which has been left frigid,

to repress is to die,
refrain and move on,

this is life persisting,
death meanders on,

run ragged,
pursue more,

a salivating void of all emotion,
numb to escape,

place distance between what happened
and any attachment to it,

two contradictory planes of existence,
abandon “your” self, rid the vessel of “my” anything, Continue reading “2 Poems by Kevin R. Farrell, Jr.”

2 Poems by Yuan Changming

Hocus Pocus

This [bread] is no other than

Jesus’ flesh

This [horse’s open mouth] is

Vaisvanara

This [word] has

A magic power

This [fish head] brings

Courage & posterity

This [fluid] cures

All diseases

This [sequence of syllables] drives away

All evils & devils

This [ritual] ensures

Good weather & good harvest

This [hat/hood] guarantees

Purity, loyalty

This [flag] leads right

To paradise

This [man] is Continue reading “2 Poems by Yuan Changming”

The Forever Tree by Kyla Houbolt

The Great Also,
the Forever Tree: and maybe it’s always
synesthesia, like, look how this word
FREE is green, like GREEN only
blown open by a wind first and
then a fire, not closed off
like the edge of a crayon where
someone (who?)
is tempted to think color just stops, boxed
into its predictable shape
at the factory. You’re not
tempted, are you?

(On a lamp post in the middle of the bridge,
a piece of green tape, and hand penciled,
“the factory is out of control”) Yes,
I’m tempted, always tempted to believe
edges like that must
enclose and exclude. For
example, you’re out there, invisible, and I’m
in here, writing this.

But the Great Also, in the details
where everything numbingly the same
is stunningly various, and vice versa, secretly
runs the out-of-control factory. Yes? Continue reading “The Forever Tree by Kyla Houbolt”

3 Poems by Anna Kahn

Considerations for Maze-Building/Determining an Appropriate Level of Guilt Upon Leaving Someone I Do Not Love

1) The intention of the maze is to disrupt
the intuition of the traveller as frequently
as possible // how often did they hand me the map?
Was I asked politely to navigate? Told?

Permitted? 2) At a fork where within sight
one path branches again and the other does not,
the traveller will assume the branched path is correct.
How convincing the wrong turns should be made Continue reading “3 Poems by Anna Kahn”

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